Korg Volca FM mk2 Doubles Polyphony, Adds Velocity Sensitivity & More

Korg today introduced the Korg Volca FM mk2, an updated version of the Volca FM that features double the polyphony, velocity sensitivity via MIDI, new effects and more.

Here’s what they have to say about it:

“The next-gen volca fm is a powerful 6-voice, 6-Operator FM synthesizer with all 32 classic algorithms, a 16-step loop sequencer, effects and a powerful arpeggiator that perfectly reproduces the sound of the classic Yamaha DX7 and is completely compatible with SYS-EX patches for the DX7 as well.

Battery (included) or adapter (optional) operated with built-in speakers and a compact and light chassis, the volca fm is the ultimate portable FM solution for all musicians.

This new generation – with double the voices of its predecessor, additional effects, expanded MIDI connectivity, and intuitive interface – is poised to bring unprecedented possibilities to your setup, and revolutionize your studio with new musical ideas.”

Features:

  • Now it is possible to play, sequence or arpeggiate up to 6 voices.
  • The new volca fm is now velocity sensitive via MIDI, which coupled with its 6 voice polyphony, provides a much more expressive and nuanced playing experience than ever before.
  • More Effects – volca fm includes a lush Reverb effect, in addition to the Chorus effect. Each of these two effects can be used and adjusted individually.
  • External sequencing and connectivity – In addition to MIDI IN, the new volca fm also includes a MIDI OUT (IN/OUT 3.5 mm TRS), making it possible to use the volca internal sequencer to control other devices through MIDI.
  • Powerful sequencer and functions – The internal sequencer offers looping up to 16 steps, allowing you to record your performance on the touch panel keyboard as you play. Up to 16 sequence patterns can be stored in the internal memory.
  • volca fm also incorporates a motion sequence function, to record in real time the subtle nuances of your playing and knob movements.
  • New program randomization and performance oriented functions – the new generation of volca fm includes a brand new program randomizer.
  • The volca fm provides new functions that enable you to generate more irregular rhythms. If the active step is fewer than 16 steps, you can use the warp active step function to compensate so you occupy the same playback time as 16 steps; then by synchronizing the playback with another volca series unit, you can deliberately skew the step timing to generate truly unconventional performances.
  • Furthermore, the pattern chain function lets you connect multiple sequence patterns for successive playback, making it possible to construct large-scale developments of 32, 64, or even 256 steps by joining up to 16 sequences.
  • Full classic Sys-Ex compatibility – The volca fm perfectly the sound engine of the Yamaha DX7. Its six operators and 32 algorithms provide complete compatibility, and it can even load files in the SYS-EX/SYX format.
  • Easy sound editing – The volca fm makes FM sound editing accessible with the MODULATOR/CARRIER edit knobs – the knob movements are mapped to multiple parameters for sound changes that are easy to understand. FM enthusiasts can also menu dive into full parameter edits.
  • The new volca fm comes in a portable form factor that you can take anywhere. It runs on 6 AA batteries, has an integrated speaker and weighs only 360g/12.6oz (without batteries).
  • SYNC IN-OUT and MIDI IN-OUT connections lets it integrate with your other gear.

Audio Demos:

See the Korg site for details.

20 thoughts on “Korg Volca FM mk2 Doubles Polyphony, Adds Velocity Sensitivity & More

  1. Add 6 voices, reverb, velocity sensitive, MIDI out, and new functions, all at the same price? Count me in!

    “Irregular rhythms” with “warp active step function” = Polyrhythmic sync with other MIDI devices?

    No after touch support is the only thing I’d miss, but I’m sure a Retrokits RK-003 smart MIDI cable could be used to map external MIDI after touch to control one of the VFM mk2’s parameters via MIDI CC.

    1. Not same price in Europe. Here it is 190 € with VAT. Old Volca FM cost almost 150€ (cost me 125€ in 2018).

    2. It’s not exactly polyrhythms. It’s an odd feature that lets you stretch however many steps are active into the same time frame as a 16-step sequence. So if you have only 15 steps active, those 15 steps will be stretched slightly to take the same amount of time as a 16-step sequence. If you have 8 steps active, your sequence will be half-time.

  2. Huh. Now there’s a thing. I dont really like the Volca range (Drum is the exception for me, and I like the Modular’s sounds but hate dupont cables), and I dont really like DX synths, but this has me intruiged. It sounds great, and has something else about it in that demo. Very tempted indeed tbh, which surprises me.

  3. Love the sound of the original so this is dope to me. The only thing I don’t see is if they added sustain pedal support, which is huge as FM sound is electric piano paradise and the last one lacked sustain support.

    1. Just use a midi controller with sustain. The synth doesn’t need to understand sustain, the midi controller can just wait to send a note-off event until you let go of the foot pedal. It wouldn’t have worked well with the volca fm classic because it only had three voices, but it’ll work well with with fm2

      1. Why wouldn’t have worked with three voices? I mean yeah I thought it would work also, but it didn’t,

        I hope you are right, although at this point if I was gonna go FM I’d probably save up for the OPSIX.

        1. I wouldn’t care to pay a little more considering everything electronic is much more expensive lately and you get double the polyphony, stand alone polyphonic sequencer, midi out to record automation, good sounding reverb, this randomize feature per preset… But the price didn’t changed,
          So for your question, i guess it’s me who “programed myself” to consider the variables before i jump to conclusions but i have a strong feeling i don’t want to know you.

  4. Why is no one mentioning the most important update?
    Blue display!
    That looks awesome and really fits in with the DX7 aesthetic compared to the red of the MK1.

  5. Is this technically better than a DX-7? The best DX-7 is the first one, because it has 12 bit converters I think. I used to own a DX-7 IID, but that was actually a pretty boring sounding synth. Always wanted the original. But this little box looks (and sounds) promising

  6. opsix native makes a lot more sense for me; it’s a really powerful synth engine that doesn’t take up desk space. The volca front panel makes too many compromises to be enjoyable.

  7. looked at the mk1 for a long time and the polyphony was the reason i never got it, i like playing 4 note chords. but now i just purchased the opsix plug-in and it has not only become my favorite FM synth, but one of my favorite subtractive synths, so now i’m not sure if i need this but yeah i will probably end up wanting it anyway.

    1. Talking about polyphony, the opsix hardware has 32 voices so it is cheaper per voice then the new volca FM. (18€ VS 31€ per voice.) + all the tricks the opsix does actually makes it more synth for the money.
      If you just want a DX7 for your backpack the volca is it.
      Overall Korg made FM accessible.

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